Why are we so divided?

Why are we so divided?

December 22, 2020

With the Biden win, we have preserved democracy for the time being. We still have work to do...alot of work. We must continue the fight for democracy pushing back against fascist, racist rule...rule by oligarchs, rule by the few and rule by the worst. In the United States, we are still fighting systemic racism as we see in the unfairness of the electoral college and current tax policies.

The racist electoral college

When we were forming the thirteen states, Southerners got power they did not deserve. White people got a full vote and for every slave they owned, they got another ⅗ person representation. The electoral college gave the white slave owners more power; it is not one person, one vote. Because we do not directly elect the president --- we cast our vote in our state --- and the electoral college elects the president. Except for two states, the electoral representatives cast their vote for whomever the majority voted. We also used to elect senators indirectly through a similar system; however, through the 17th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, we established the direct election of senators in each state.

It’s time to do this at the national level. Today, because of this electoral college, one vote in Wyoming has the same power of hundreds of thousands of votes in California. White people, inhabiting red states, have more power in the electoral college than the majority and plurality of people in other states. Even though our Declaration of Independence says all people are created equal with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, when one vote is more powerful for white people in Wyoming than hundreds of thousands of people in California, it is not far from white people “being better than” people of color (still).

Because each state has two senators, many states already have more representation than their population warrants. By shifting to a direct election for president we can uphold one person, one vote.

Current tax policies support systemic racism

From the late 1940s through the 1960s, the highest tax rate was over 90%. This high rate did not make the country socialist. We did not give up means of production to the government, and that’s never going to happen. None of the small business owners in this country, which is the majority, are ever going to give up their means of production to the government. Nor will the large companies. This period was one of the most highly productive times economically in the country. For the last 60 years, taxes have been chipped away. The highest tax rate is now only 37%. We need to add more brackets as you earn more. This type of progressive tax system is a fair system of taxation. As you put more steps on the tax ladder, you have more tax revenue providing more funding for education, infrastructure, and funds for the Green New Deal.

Racism and racial prejudice help shape the tax code. Today’s income and wealth distributions are skewed to the 1% and households of colors over-represent the bottom. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act widens income and racial disparities because it decreases taxes of mega-wealthy and increases taxes on lower income earners. A progressive system is inclusive and improves the poor’s purchasing power, stimulating the economy.

People of color are less likely to be upwardly mobile. They are not able to get loans to start a business. In the same situation, a white person may access credit where people of color will likely find obstacles to accessing capital. We as a nation, should want everyone to have the opportunity to take risks, start businesses and contribute to the economy.

Finding cohesion

We used to be more cohesive as a country. How many more elections will be skewed by the power of the few against the will of the majority of the people? We can get rid of the electoral college and elect the person who garners the most votes. It is also time to reconstitute the fairness of our tax system so that the tax dollars provide the opportunities to the majority of people who are not receiving the benefit. We can use the tax dollars to fund highways, education, hyperloops and the Green New Deal for the benefit of all. It is possible to live up to the promise of “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” --- working toward financial independence --- if we are less divided and work together.